If you have these vintage Corelle dishes in your cabin, RV or cabin

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We love our vintage Corelle dishes at the chalet. It’s the same mark I had when I was a kid; Corelle Dishes by Corningware. They were lightweight, virtually indestructible, and easy to clean. Whenever we are in a thrift store, it is not uncommon for us to buy an old piece or two that matches our model. As a result, we have a beautiful set that can accommodate up to twelve guests on summer days when we have a walleye fry on the back porch.

We found out that we had to get rid of all the old Corelles.

What’s wrong with our Corelle Vintage Dishes?

My wife was looking for something on kitchen utensils and found this vital nugget of information on the internet. A website called Lead Safe Mama, (LSM) was testing and presenting the results of vintage cookware lead testing. We were amazed at what the site showed, image after image of dishes and cooking utensils in our cabin and in our house. They all have high levels of lead in the decorative pattern of each piece. Turns out Corningware and others were using lead in the pattern paint until 2005! Yet, we have never been notified that this was present…until now.

Stop using these dishes now!

While Lead Safe Mama, LLC’s independent consumer goods testing work is frequently challenged by fans of vintage dinnerware (who are usually quite upset when they first learn that their dishes may not be safe for a food use), it turns out that even Corelle recommends that you discontinue use of vintage/”older”* (pre-2005) decorated Corelle parts for functional food purposes.

Lead Safe Mama contacted Corelle® after finding high levels of lead in the painted decorative elements of many Corelle® parts. A Corelle® representative confirmed that the company knew it used lead in its parts until the mid-2000s and told the site that the company stopped using lead in its decorative tableware designs. circa 2005. Yikes!

Corelle asks owners to stop using old dishes and cookware

In an email exchange with an LSM and Corelle® fan, the company posted the following response regarding lead on its older products:

“Before the 1990s, virtually all glass and ceramic items made anywhere in the world contained lead as a primary ingredient in fluxes and decorative glazes. All of our products have been lead free since the mid 2000’s. Lead content was never regulated until recently. We recommend using the items you have as decorative pieces. We hope this information will be useful.

It’s more than Corelle dishes that have lead paint.

Lead Safe Mama has been writing and editing people on this topic for over ten years. LSM has discovered Corelle parts have been high in lead (and cadmium) for about a decade now – shortly after LSM began testing consumer goods for toxic substances using XRF technology in 2009.

The LSM site has many Pyrex® dishes, bowls, casseroles and measuring pieces that they have tested and reported on. Too many to list them here. Needless to say, we probably have about 50 rooms between our cabin and our house that will be directed to the dumpster.

Is it safe to use the new Corelle dishes?

According to LSM, Corelle® is currently a world leader in the production of lead-free tableware. They promote their basic whiteware as one of the most trusted lead-free dishwashing solutions on the market today.

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One of their designs, Bella Faenza, has the embossed detail in the glass (like a texture, not a painted design). These “embossed” Corelle dishes are all lead-free (as long as there are no colored elements). Simple lead-free white dishes with no ornamental embellishments.

Why is this amount of lead a problem?

It only takes a tiny amount of lead to poison a child (or a human being), and no one is currently examining the potential impact of consuming vintage leaded tableware on users. However, if you recall the Flint water crisis, changes in drinking water sources and treatment resulted in the lead poisoning of thousands of Flint children. Lead poisoning can cause learning disabilities and health problems. Affected children will face this crisis for the rest of their lives.

To view all Vintage Corelle LSM dishes tested for lead

Lead Safe Mama does an excellent service. The author of the site has been working on this issue for years and his efforts seem to be continuing. It’s sad that we’re getting rid of these old dishes, but I’m glad to know this food safety information that no one else seems to have covered.

For more information on the lead found in these and other vintage dishes, click here: Corelle® recommends using their pre-2005 dishes as “decorative pieces” due to high lead levels.

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